Vermilion Farm Portraits

Dragon Hare Studios – I recently served as a stop on the Race of Vermilion!  At my stop, teams had to learn photoshop and take a photography quiz.

This was one of the questions:Vermilion farm portraits

When I reviewed the answers with the team, it was really fun for me to see the reactions as most teams took extra time after to spy the secrets that these images reveal.

If you look very closely at these two images, you will see that the sky and the wedding dress is over exposed on the left. The subject’s faces are actually in shadow as the sun is up/behind them. This means that the sky/dress are actually a brighter exposure than the bride/groom.
Look at the richness in colors in the balanced image, look at the detail in the dress, the sky, suit and their faces. In the left image, can you see clearly their faces or the lace that bride chose to wear for her groom?
You can’t.  Why?  Because they are overexposed!  They are blown out!  A white sky in a portrait is a sign that the photographer did not control or balance the exposure.  A white wedding dress with no detail means also that the photographer did not control the exposure.
In order to create the image on the right, I have to balance the difference of exposure between the ambient and the subject’s faces that are in shadow. I either have to take away light from the sun or add light to bring the exposure on them up.
Many of the teams asked if this was a photoshop trick?  Did I replace the sky with a blue one?
This is not a photoshop trick – the secret is in the details, a sky swap would still have left the dress overexposed with no details!  The colors and richness that you see in the grass, the canola, the clothing and the flowers would still be washed out like the left image if I had just replaced the sky!
Balancing the exposure takes considerable knowledge of gear, light and exposure, as well as some math to get the job done!  I would much rather get the colors, exposure and details correct in my camera than spend time in photoshop fixing poor exposure control!  For this reason, we carry a lot of fire power with us on location so we can compete with the sun!
The next time you hire a photographer, look carefully at their portfolios.  Look at the dress and the sky in their work!  Balancing light takes a lot of experience, training and gear!  If the vast majority of their images are overexposed, or they say their favorite time to photograph is on cloudy days (on cloudy days there are no dark shadows so the exposure is closer together and easier to expose), well now you know why!
At Dragon Hare, we have fire power to ensure every detail of your day is recorded and not forgotten!
Thank you to all the teams that braved the Race of Vermilion and came out to the studio!  It was a lot of fun for us to share our love of Vermilion family portraits with everyone!